Monte Vista schools navigate in-person learning

MONTE VISTA - At their last school board meeting Monte Vista Superintendent Scott Wiedeman shared with the school board a new dashboard chart that the school has put together to track COVID-19 risks in relation to the school. “I really believe it’s not a guessing game it’s more of how the scientific evidence will show when we should close to in-person learning and switch to remote. Or if we get to that point where we can bring everybody back,” Superintendent Wiedeman said at the meeting when introducing the new dashboard.

The dashboard has five categories ranging from ‘Not at all Concerning,’ to ‘Extremely Concerning.’ The chart also includes comparisons with other nearby counties and their COVID-19 cases, testing, etc.

“Even the surrounding counties have an impact on us too. If we compare our county with Saguache County and Alamosa County because those are really the ones that are right next to us. If you see a huge increase or a huge spike in there, we may be seeing that so it’s something to keep an eye on and look at those other counties and how they’re doing. If you look at the chart over a year’s time the spikes are in the same places. From that time in May and June when we had the episodes at the mushroom farm or the warehouses up in Saguache County and those things. Rio Grande County increased during that time too. It’s just something to watch out for and just make sure that we’re keeping our eyes open and keeping people safe,” Wiedeman told Valley Publishing in a later interview.

When asked if there was a certain point when the school would feel safe to reopen all the way Wiedeman answered saying, “In a couple of weeks we’ll discuss that. I’m telling you right now that in Rio Grande County if you look at our chart and where we score and those things right now, I think we’re at a 4 today. We’re thinking anywhere from a 2 below we would close down the school or a 5 and above we would start thinking about those deals opening up all the way. But for the moment I say tomorrow hey it looks like we’re going to open up, then the flu season hits, and we don’t want flu or COVID or anything like that.”

Wiedeman shared that currently things within the district seem to be going well saying, “We feel that we are maximizing our instruction within the classroom. Our classrooms are smaller. Teachers seem to be getting more done. Less discipline problems. And especially at the elementary level. In the areas of English, math, and reading we’re doing a really, really, good job almost even ahead of our curriculum pace. Right now, we’ve got kids in school and that’s where we want to be. We’ll look at it, we’ll review, we’ll revaluate it. Take everything back to task force and poll our parents again and those things. That’s coming up here within the next couple of weeks.”

Wiedeman shared that the information they are using for their dashboard chart is from SLV Health, and they also collect information from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE).

“It’s just a dashboard of tracking how many cases are in Rio Grande County to how many have been over the last month and the last week per 100,000 (people). How much Rio Grande County is testing and the more you test and the smaller number of cases you have that’s really a good thing. I think Rio Grande County is in a really good spot. It really just gives us a perspective on that number where we maybe need to shut down the school. Or maybe go back full. Gives us more of a scientific deal instead of just out there guessing and those things,” said Wiedeman about the dashboard chart. The school district’s dashboard chart can be viewed on their website at:



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